Several NFL players have made headlines in recent months for refusing to stand during the national anthem as an act of protest. But Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin has said that at least one owner in the NFL has told players that they have to stand during the anthem.
And that owner is probably Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
Baldwin told HBO’s Bill Simmons in an interviews that one or more NFL owners “have told their players to do specific things or to not do specific things … regarding the national anthem and the protests,” which the Seahawks wide receiver said he thought was “egregious,” according to the Washington Post.
“The one quote that I was informed of was, ‘You’re going to stand on the line with your hand on your heart and you’re going to sing the national anthem because this is my stage,” Baldwin recalled.
Recent protests in the NFL have centered around issues of race, including police violence and use of lethal force. Baldwin has been part of the protests, in which several NFL players have refused to stand for the national anthem to show solidarity with African-Americans and protest against a number of high-profile cases where police officers shot unarmed black men. More than half of the players in the NFL are black, while most owners in the NFL are white.
The protests started when viewers and other players noticed that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not stand up during the anthem. Players in soccer and the NBA and WNBA have also joined in to show their support.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been a noted critic of the players’ protests, calling the decision to not stand a disappointment, according to the Star-Telegram. He praised players on his own team for not participating, saying, “We strongly, strongly support the flag in every way we support — and it’s almost ridiculous to be saying — the people that for generations and generations that have given it all up so that we can get out here and show off in front of millions of people on television.”
Jones added that the NFL was an important forum for America. “And I’m for it being used in every way we can to support the great, great contributors in our society,” he said. “And that’s people that have supported America, the flag, and there’s no reason to not go all out there. And for anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing.”
Since Kaepernick stopped standing during the anthem in August, more than 20 other NFL players have joined in protest, according to CBS.